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Cattlemen’s committee approves 2018 funding plan

Fourteen proposals approved for $38 million worth of funding.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board announced this week that it will invest about $38 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications during fiscal 2018, subject to U.S. Department of Agriculture approval.

During action at the end of its Sept. 12-13 meeting in Denver, Colo., the Operating Committee approved checkoff funding for a total of 14 “authorization requests” – or proposals – brought by seven contractors for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2017. The committee, which includes 10 producers from the Beef Board and 10 members from the Federation of State Beef Councils, also recommended full Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions.

The seven contractors had brought a total of $45 million worth of funding requests to the Operating Committee this week -- $7 million more than what was available from the Beef Board's budget.

“We showed up Tuesday morning ready to roll our sleeves up and get to work. We knew that we were going to have to make cuts of about $7 million,” Beef Board chairman and Oklahoma cattle producer Brett Morris said.

“They are all good programs, and we hate for any of them to get cut, but with the amount of resources we had to work with, we had to make cuts,” Morris said. “I think the whole committee came through in agreement. Bottom line: We had a great task to accomplish, and we got there. I think the beef industry is in good shape because of it.” 

In the end, the Operating Committee approved proposals from seven national beef organizations for funding through the fiscal 2018 Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board budget, as follows:

  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) — five proposals for $27.3 million.
  • U.S. Meat Export Federation, a subcontractor to NCBA — one proposal for $7.4 million.
  • North American Meat Institute — four proposals for $1.35 million.
  • Cattlemen’s Beef Board — one proposal for $1.1 million.
  • American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture — one proposal for $435,131.
  • Meat Import Council of America — one proposal for $366,000.
  • National Livestock Producers Assn. — one proposal for $53,150.

Broken out by budget component, the fiscal 2018 Plan of Work for the Beef Board budget includes:

  • $10.1 million for promotion programs, including continuation of the checkoff’s consumer digital advertising program, as well as veal promotion.
  • $8.9 million for research programs focusing on a variety of critical issues, including pre- and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research and beef and culinary innovations.
  • $7.4 million for consumer information programs, including a Northeast public relations initiative and national consumer public relations that includes nutrition influencer relations and work with primary and secondary school curriculum directors nationwide to get accurate information about the beef industry into classrooms of today’s youth.
  • $3.1 million for industry information programs comprising dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for checkoff participation in a fifth annual national, industry-wide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use.
  • $7.4 million for foreign marketing and education in 80 countries in the following regions: Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Caribbean, Central America/Dominican Republic, China/Hong Kong, Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Middle East, Russia/Greater Russian Region, South America, Taiwan and new markets.
  • $1.1 million for producer communications, which includes investor outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers and importers about checkoff results, as well as development and utilization of information conduits such as auction markets, maintenance of a seamless partnership with state beef council producer communication efforts and producer attitude research to determine producer attitudes about and desires for the checkoff program.

"This was my third year on the Operating Committee, and our decisions were a lot harder to make than they ever have been before,” said Stacy McClintock, a cow/calf producer from Kansas. “Everybody on the committee came together, and we made some great decisions for the industry.”

The full fiscal 2018 budget is $40.9 million. Separate from the authorization requests, other expenses funded include $221,000 for evaluation, $295,000 for program development, $450,000 for USDA oversight and about $2 million for administration. The fiscal 2018 budget represents an increase of $124,700 or 0.3% from the $40.8 million in the fiscal 2017 budget.

In his final comment on the meeting, Operating Committee member and federation director Jerry Effertz of North Dakota may have summed up the committee’s hard work best when he said, “I have never been as privileged to be a part of something as I am our grassroots checkoff decision-making system.”

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